Today’s guest post comes from Melinda Brennan of WAHM Business Builder.
Self-Improvement. I LOVE self-improvement. I really do. I read my first self-improvement book aged ten (The Power of Positive Thinking by David Schwarz) and I’ve been reading them ever since. And going to personal development seminars, listening to self development tapes; heck, I even became a Coach because it’s something I love doing for myself and helping others do as well.
You’d think I’d be so improved by now that I’d be nearly perfect. I can see you all nodding in agreement. Well, I hate to disappoint you, but I’m not. Shocking isn’t it? All that work and effort for thir…*mumble* years and I’m still not perfect. It’s a bit sad really.
What’s gone wrong with the Self-Improvement that I’ve taken in and studied all these years? Surely there is some fundamental flaw in the methods these books use, some error in the techniques that ‘guarantee’ results, mistaken reasoning behind the philosophies that should improve me?
The thing that is wrong, my friend, the thing that holds me back from being so improved, is simply myself. I hold myself back. I am the barrier to all the achievement and development that I want to become. Me, Myself, and I. For many reasons. And they are the reasons that will hold you back as well.
Change can be really hard. There are a lot of reasons that prevent us from changing and improving. Sometimes change happens in the blink of an eye, a sentence that provokes an instant re-evaluation of our thinking and mindsets. Sometimes. Mostly however, our self-improvement happens one babystep at a time, small actions repeated over and over and over and over. And that can be hard work.
How many of these roadblocks to improvement do you recognise in your own life?
Habits and your Comfort zone. Most of the things we do each day are habits. The way we get out of bed, the way we shower, the food we eat, the words we use. Habits reinforce and enclose our comfort zone. When we decide to change a habit we feel uncomfortable because we’re butting up against that fence around the comfort zone.
Fear. Oh the fear! Fear of failure, fear of success. Fear of change, fear of progress, fear of stagnation. Fear your friends won’t like you any more, fear they’ll only like you if you do change. Fear of the unknown, fear of making an idiot of yourself, fear of…. What’s your fear? What fears stop you?
Why? Why do you want to improve? Is your reason for changing, for improving yourself, strong enough to overcome the resistance you will feel to change? Is it strong enough to keep you going through the hard times?
Motivation and Accountability. Just as you eat food every day, you also need a daily dose of motivation. Being accountable to someone to keep moving forward, to encourage you when it seems like nothing is happening, is essential to long-lasting change.
Age. They (whoever ‘they’ are) say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I say, tell that to the 87 year old lady who graduated from University here last year. While it’s true that change is more difficult as you age, for various reasons, it shouldn’t be used as an excuse. If that’s your ‘reason’ for not changing, then you need to dig deeper for the real reason.
Self-Esteem. A lot of people resist change because they don’t think they’re capable. They’ve been so beaten down by life and people over the years that they can’t see possibilities beyond their current situation. They’re the eagles who continue to live in the chicken coop because they think they’re chickens, because they’ve been conditioned and trained to think as a chicken. They’ve never looked in a clear mirror and seen the eagle and the inherent potential within, just waiting for them to face up and accept it as truth.
The moment for change comes when you decide that you’re not going to allow these things to rob you of what you could be any more. When you see them as simply issues and hangups that are irrelevant. When you get angry at what could be and isn’t, because these roadblocks have stopped you in the past.
I’m not denying that some of these issues are huge and difficult. Some of them are enormous and painful. Generally they’ve been there for years, effectively blocking us and they don’t yield easily when we decide to push past them.
However, at the end of the day, you are the one responsible for making your own change. For deciding when enough is enough and that you are going to do this – no excuses. And when you make that decision, please let me know because I’ll be at the sidelines cheering you on. 🙂
Melinda Brennan is a Business Coach who helps Work at Home Mums find clarity and direction amongst the chaos of working at home. She’s been coaching for over five years and is a Certified Professional Coach, Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner and Time Line Therapist.
Melinda is a member of the International Coach Federation and Christian Coaches Network, and is President Elect for the Canberra Chapter of the International Coach Federation. You can find her online at WAHM Biz Builder.